I know, I know, it’s been a long time, well, Oscar was sick for about a month from Anzac Day until his birthday, and we’ve spent the past month recovering from that really. Plus, it’s been really, really cold lately, so getting this post in the darkest, coldest period of Winter, you should consider yourselves very, very lucky. I decided to take a day off and head to this state park northeast of Melbourne, just past the Yarra Ranges National Park, I’d read about it on a bushwalking blog that I occasionally visit, and it looked good, but because this was a “spur of the moment” type deal, I didn’t really check what it was going to be like and just hoped that it was going to be clear and beautiful. Well, it wasn’t, it was misty at the top, and the view was a white-out, when I was up there anyway. It might have cleared up later, but I doubt it. The terrain reminds me a bit of the Grampians, but it’s a bit closer to where I live, but also, the good views here seem probably a bit more challenging to get to.
Driving there takes about two hours from my place, and then it’s ten kilometres (past a lot of curious kangaroos) up to Sugarloaf Saddle Carpark where you can do a number of pretty hairy trails. Considering my lack of experience and preparation, I went with the shortest, yet still quite challenging Canyon Track which is basically from the carpark to the peak of Sugarloaf Peak, 40 minutes one way, and involves some scrambling/climbing (or I just went the wrong way!). I was planning on climbing up to the peak and then walking along the Razorback track for a bit, but the view was completely obscured by cloud/mist so I decided just to head back down and look for a track that might give me some running water shots. Also, the rocks were a bit wet, and considering how dangerous climbing up and down that one little bit seemed, I thought better not risk any more in those conditions.
So I made my way back down to the car and then drove back down to Cooks Mill, where there is a Little River Track, which you would think, would meander along a river side. You can certainly hear the river, as you start the trail, but after only about 50m or so, it veers onto a track that just looks like unsealed road, there is a clearing to the left, and basically a muddy walk for about a kilometre or so before the road joins back to the track. This is a nice track with greenery everywhere and the sound of water running, as well as the occasional kookaburra sighting and constant kookaburra calls.
This track was also meant to be 40 minutes to it’s end point, Ned’s Gully, but after about 50 minutes I didn’t seem to be getting any closer, so I decided to head back, I didn’t have any food or water, it was probably only about five more minutes, as the walk back only took about 35-40 minutes with a brief stop for pictures by the river. I then stopped just past the bridge leading in and out of Cooks Mill to take a couple more pictures of the river before heading home. All in all, it was a worthwhile trip, if for nothing more than scouting, also got to drive through the Yarra Ranges National Park which is a treat in itself (no pictures though unfortunately), but I’m not sure I’ll be taking the little one there for a while, just seems a bit too challenging for him, but maybe I’m being over protective. So maybe I will head back out there in Spring time or something, at least the tracks seem easy to follow, even for me!
Hey, it’s not the first time I’ve ever been on the Great Ocean Road, I mean I’ve lived in Melbourne for over thirty years, that’d be crazy, but this time I actually went down to see the Twelve Apostles as well (that was a first). Unfortunately I was the one driving so I couldn’t really enjoy the scenery as much winding along the beautiful coastal road. From Melbourne we stopped in Lorne for a break, and Apollo Bay for lunch (word of advice, don’t bother going to La Bimba, let’s just call them Lord of the Flies) before reaching our destination of Port Campbell National Park to see the Twelve Apostles, which is just a name, they’re actually just big limestone stacks in the sea, not the apostles of Jesus Christ, also, there aren’t twelve of them.
It’s a lot of driving in one day, I would definitely say too much for one day, take a night at least cos there’s plenty to see down there and if you don’t want to see anything, just go and relax on the beach, it’s nice. Leaving at about 8.30am we didn’t arrive at the national park until about 3.30pm (that’s including lunch of course but still), and then we only spent an hour or two there, I would have preferred to see the stacks at sunset, sunrise, or any time in between as the light would have been a lot less harsh and much more conducive to some artsy photography (cos that’s what I do).
It was actually a really nice day, very sunny but not too hot (I did manage to get sun burnt a little), stupidly none of us remembered to take sunscreen so let that be a lesson to you. Yeah, I was very impressed by the scenery, and will go back one day but definitely staying overnight so that I can pay a visit at a time more conducive (I can’t believe I used that word twice in one post!) to clearer photos and less tourists, more towards twilight and after sunset and before sunrise for those sweet long exposures.
The other thing is, we didn’t even visit London Bridge or Loch Ard Gorge so there’s plenty more for me to see definitely and to photograph, next time I’ll go on my own terms :D. We took the inland road back to Melbourne which only took about 3.5 hours and with pretty much no traffic is probably the way to go (to avoid the stress of traffic jams), but there are a lot of lookout points on the road, so if driving towards sunset, it might be worth it. I took my big tripod and didn’t even use it, so I reckon that’s going to get some heavy use next time. I’ve got another post lined up for next week or whenever I’m bored next but after that I don’t know, haven’t seen Anchorman 2 yet, would like to, will have to see if I can make it.
Hey, another post inside of two weeks, unbelievable right? Well, I was really hoping to post something last week but in the end it wasn’t to be, as the Spurs went down in seven games to the stupid Heat. And then we lost our semi-final this past Sunday having gone an undefeated 14-0 during the regular season, which was disappointing enough, but I had to be doubly disappointed with my own effort, as I was pretty much a complete non-factor which is going to sting me until we get back playing again in a couple weeks, and certainly it’s going to smart until we get back to the finals with a chance to right these wrongs. Any way, back to the point of this post, these photos were taken in the past month or so, the first two taken in mid-May down at Point Nepean National Park right near the tip of the peninsula, and the last three just this past weekend down at Cape Schanck again.
I really like the Cape Schanck Lighthouse area, and I definitely think that there is more to explore, I only had a brief look around Pebble Beach, but taking that peak, I reckon that there is certainly more to see with a bit more time to wander around. So I’ll probably head back down there later in the year with my tripod at the ready to snag some interesting shots, the sea scape is great with a big blue sky and the blue sea. The orange clay (?) of the rock on the edge is very vivid and provides a great contrast to the blue everywhere else. The waves crashing on to the rocks and the lighthouse are also some great subjects to pose around, I’m hpoing to wander around the corner down there and see something really great and photogenic, let’s hope so for next time. The food down that way is also a treat, all around a great part of Victoria I say, and reasonably close too.
It’s a couple of weeks ago now, which is pretty slack of me, but over the Easter long weekend we took a short trip down to the north of Tasmania (around Cradle Mountain mostly) to wander around the nature areas around there.
Originally, I planned to summit Cradle Mountain but decided not to as I didn’t want to leave Em to wander around aimlessly by herself. So basically, the trip itinerary read:
Actually, I think we pretty much did do things according to plan, but unfortunately the weather didn’t co-operate with us, leaving us a bit damp and dreary. The weather for the most part was reasonable, sunny patches here and there, but the day we went to Cradle Mountain was pretty miserable. We did get to walk around Sheffield and see the murals around town, which are pretty nice, also did a short walk to the Alum Cliffs where there is a nice view, would have been better if there was anything other than cloud in the sky, also walked up to the top of Kimberley’s Lookout for a view of Mount Roland and Sheffield, fairly ok.
I didn’t think that there was going to be enough to do at Cradle Mountain for the whole day (the two projected walks are listed as 1-2 hour walks) so we went looking for a lookout over Lake Barrington in the morning, we didn’t find it and instead spent a couple of hours driving around in the wet before deciding to head to Cradle Mountain National Park. We got there a bit after noon, and decided to just do the Dove Lake circuit as the weather was not great and apparently the Crater Lake circuit is a bit hazardous in that situation (for average/lazy walkers). The Dove Lake circuit is a 6km walk (I think) around Dove Lake and pretty much going right underneath the summit of Cradle Mountain at the far end, half of it is board walked and the rest is gravel. It’s a pretty easy walk (but took us about two and a half hours, maybe I’m slow, probably with the photos) and includes some nice sections such as Glacier Rock, the boat shed, the Enchanted Ballroom, and some other nice lookout points. Despite the grey and wet weather we toughed it out and even caught a glimpse of the Cradle Mountain peak, it’s possible that the weather would have been clear in the morning but on the day that we went, I don’t think it was. My suggestion for Cradle Mountain National Park, go early, also, go in Summer. Despite that, we had a pretty good time getting all wet out there, and then settled in for a nice dinner at the Cradle Mountain Lodge, Highland Restaurant, it’s a pretty swanky restaurant, I ordered the salmon, while Em ordered the venison, a couple of starters, and a dessert (a very good cake with a mango blanket!). A very lovely dinner, most tasty, I would definitely recommend it, it’s probably better if you’re staying there as well, don’t have to worry about driving home in the dark. Hey, the Enchanted Walk around the Lodge is also a nice little stroll.
We went to Devonport looking for things to do but didn’t really find anything apart from the lighthouse at Mersey Bluff, which was quite nice, except for the fact that I probably got carried away taking jumping photos (it was a little chilly and windy). After that we were kind of desperately looking for something to do, and ended up going to an arboretum (tree zoo?) about 20 minutes south of Devonport. That was a bit boring as there seems to be a lot of work (or tree growing) still to do. We did spot a platypus in the lake diving around everywhere, didn’t get a good look of anything but its back though. Back toward Sheffield and on to Tasmazia, a big maze complex near Sheffield. This was actually quite fun, we had some issues navigating through a couple of the mazes but they’re not really that difficult to solve (given enough time :D). It’s also a very picturesque place, what with the big green hedges and imposing Mount Roland standing in the background. I would recommend against the restaurant/pancake parlour though, unless you’re really into sweet pancakes dishes.
Finally, my plan for Easter Monday was to head to Launceston and wander around, but we weren’t really able to find anything that seemed particularly interesting so we ended up stopping in Chudleigh, a very small town that has a honey farm. Went in and bought some honey along with a million tourists that just got off a bus before continuing on our way to Launceston. Quite desperately we decided to head to a “Swiss” village called Grindelwald north of Launceston (fortunately everything is really close in Tasmania), this was a bit of a dud, just a couple of cafes/bakeries, nothing to write home about that’s for sure. We then headed up to Brady’s Lookout (which would be good with some blue skies and perhaps a few of the tall trees out of the way) before heading to Cataract Gorge, which is only a couple of kilometres out of Launceston, with plenty of time on our hands we decided to do the Duck Reach walk to the power station. It’s about an hour each way (maybe less I can’t quite remember), there are some nice views along the way, but the water level seemed relatively low to me, I reckon it would be a lot more interesting if the water was really gushing, a pretty easy walk, although very undulating with some quite steep bits.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to go to Tasmania any more unless it’s Summer time, we’ve been at the start of Winter, and in the middle of Autumn now, and for me, it’s too cold, I definitely want to see more though, Freycinet NP and Wineglass Bay spring to mind and even another go at Cradle Mountain in good weather are still on my wish list. Some of the big lakes on the island could surely be nice, it can be a bit boring, but maybe we’re not looking in the right places.
Haven’t done much lately, been a bit unwell and tired and it’s been super wet and cold here so I’ve been particularly lazy. Any way, I have completed processing of my Tasmanian photos and had a couple extras that didn’t find there ways onto flickr, so I thought I’d post them here. Actually, I’ve been in the midst of planning our Japanese break, booking and planning, trying to work out what we can do, what we can fit in, it’s a bit of a headache cos we don’t have much time but there are so many places to see, we’ll just have to focus on a couple key areas and hope that we can pay another visit another time. So both of these photos are HDR shots where I got similar shots and put them on flickr because I thought they were a little more interesting, but then when I look at these it would be a waste not to post them somewhere, especially the one in Mount Field National Park. We’ll see if I have anything else to post in the next month or two of this dark Winter while waiting for the trip to Japan. So desperately waiting for this Winter to end, I’m sick (literally) and tired of the bloody cold, and now I’m too lazy to cycle in the cold :D.
We went to Hobart over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend last week, we had a rough itinerary planned, we arrived on a Saturday, so the plan was to hit the Salamanca Market in the morning, and then head up to Mount Field National Park in the afternoon to see some waterfalls. Day two was our only full day so we would spend it at Port Arthur Historical Site (about 95km from Hobart), and day three we would drive up to Mount Wellington to get a view of Hobart. We arrived a bit before 9am and got into our rented car and headed for Hobart city centre.
I’m not sure if it was because it was a public holiday weekend, but there was no traffic heading into Hobart, and none really to speak of in town either. We hit the market but didn’t buy anything, it was quite good but souvenirs in Australia are just as tacky as they are anywhere around the world, maybe the local gourmet foods and condiments might have been good to buy, but we decided against it. After that we headed up to Mount Field National Park, mainly to see Russell Falls, but I guess also to see what else was in the national park. About two-thirds of the way there (65km drive) we noticed this most beautiful of hills, it was green with deciduous trees lining half of it, the sun was shining and clouds were hovering, the scenery was fantastic, too bad we couldn’t find anywhere to stop and take a picture. At the park we found a nice 2.5 hour walk around that would take in three waterfalls, Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Lady Barron Falls, as well as some comfortable walking through lush forest.
Russell Falls seemed a bit dry, whereas Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls looked really good to me. After that we headed back to Hobart for dinner, we went to Blue Eyes where we both had fish, which was yummy.
Day two consisted of the 95km drive to Port Arthur, taking in the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Arch, the Devil’s Kitchen, and the Blowhole, three naturally occurring geological formations of similar descriptions, basically they all were caves that eroded away and now ocean water smashes through into a small enclosed area. They were a little underwhelming to be honest, but perhaps it was low tide, one of them (I think it was Tasman Arch) had a really nice lookout next to it where you could see the pretty coastline with high cliffs. I thought the Tessellated Pavement was quite nice, the weather was quite dreary all day with periods of drizzle and some very short bursts of sunshine.
Port Arthur is obviously a significant historical site but if you know me, you probably know I found it a little boring, nothing especially photogenic there. Again, we went back to Hobart for dinner, this time at the Customs House Hotel, which just seemed like a standard pub in terms of the seafood.
Our final day in which we were to drive up to (the peak of) Mount Wellington, and also have some fresh oysters for lunch at Barilla Oyster Farm, and fit in whatever else we could be bothered doing. First we went to the oyster farm for lunch where we shared a 30 oyster platter which was yummy (except there were too many cooked cheesy oysters and not enough uncooked pear ones). After that we went back to Hobart to pick up a couple things before heading up to Mount Wellington. it was a bit of an overcast day and driving up I don’t think either of us held out much hope for a nice clear view at the top. By about midway the mist started creeping in and by the time we were pretty much at the top it was clear (not!) that the cloud cover was well and truly in and we would not be seeing anything. Visibility was about ten metres and the temperature was about three degrees, we didn’t hang around for long and headed back down and looked for any other lookout points of note, not really finding anything in the grey afternoon. After that we headed back to Barilla Oyster Farm to get some fresh oysters to take back to Melbourne. And that ends our three day trip to Hobart, we fit in quite a bit, saw the main things to see in (and around) Hobart, although we didn’t really wander around the CBD at all (not that there seemed to be much to see from what we saw driving through there), and didn’t stay out at night, neither of us can drink much so not much point by ourselves. I didn’t take any photos of it, but I did notice that there is a lot of road kill on the Tasmanian highways, not just small possums either, I reckon there were just as many wallabies and bigger animals on the side of the road too.
Good thing for me we didn’t hit any, the excess on the car was a whopping $3K. Overall happy with what we did, but we had hoped for a bit better weather (out of pure luck I guess) but it was not to be, it was the start of Winter I guess, amazing scenery down there, similar to New Zealand I would think, on a smaller scale, but would be amazing in any other season although you’d have to deal with a lot more people like me (tourists) then. I was actually surprised, I’d heard a lot about the two-headed Tasmanians expecting to see them around every corner, but in the end I only saw a couple, I guess they’re not as numerous as the sayings say they are.
At least I think these photos were taken in or around May, didn’t really get up to too much over the past month other than a bit of a self-harm, and watching a lot of movies. The picture of my hand showing the stab wound caused by my own clumsiness, I was wiping down the bench top, and stupidly left one of the magimix blades in the drying rack (hanging over the edge of course), and pushed my hand right into it with quite a bit of force it seems. Anyway, I got three stitches which will hopefully come out this Sunday after two weeks, and I can resume normal activities.
The caterpillar photo was a stroke of luck as it must have fallen out of a tree and landed on our gate where it was easy pickings for me (first), then I’m sure for some bird afterwards. After that are a couple pictures of some pizzas I made, the bacon and egg one really came out funny, perfect for Valentine’s Day, the Salami one tasted better. I did learn that with our oven it is better to cook for a bit longer, and also to fry the bacon a bit before putting it in the oven, probably the egg too. The last two shots were taken up at Lake Eildon National Park where we did a nice three hour hike (could’ve been faster but you know me :D), that’s it for now, I just got back from Hobart, so will be posting some pictures from that trip soon too.